Reconstruction Period Research Forum
Legitimatizing Slave Marriages
When reviewing Census records from 1870 forward for the former Confederate States (slave-holding) the structure of families for former slaves begin to take shape.
Some of those former slave-holding states designated periods of time (usually 2 years), where the former 'co-habitants' could legitimatize (if that's a word ) their relationship. For example, "Somebody Knows My Name" by Barnetta McGhee White, PhD, is of tremendous value to those of us with ancestors found in NC during this period.
Thanks to Dr. White's effort I have been able document several of these 'marriages'in my own ancestral lines. The most significant, for me, is that of paternal great-grandparents, Peter and Louisa Lawrence, recorded in 1866 in Edgecombe County, NC, where they state they had been 'partners' for the previous 19 years.
So, I guess this message is to encourage folks to check with their States of research for the availibility of these types of records. In addition to the marriage record itself, you may find some of those elusive maiden names.
Wishing this Forum much success,
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